The World Generation of Minecraft

This is a companion article to the documentary about the world generation of Minecraft, which you can see below. This is a chance to expand on the content, including more information and resources that was not possible to include in the original 45 minutes of the video.

Have you ever wondered how many grains of sand are on this planet? Well …a rough estimate is… over 7 quintillion! That’s a 7 followed by 18 zeros. And yet, that’s not even half the number of the unique words in Minecraft. So how does Minecraft—and other games like it—build such complex, beautifully crafted yet fully procedural worlds? This article will explore how the game generates its worlds: from its tallest mountain, to its deepest cave. Welcome to the World Generation of Minecraft.

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Topographical Maps in Unity: Edge Detection

This tutorial will teach you how to recreate a very popular effect in games: topographical maps.

This is a two-part series, which will cover all the necessary aspects—from the Maths to the shader code—to make this possible:

In this second part, we will focus on the edge detection algorithm that will be used to draw the contours of the terrain.

A link to download the full Unity package is also available at the end of the tutorial.

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Topographical Maps in Unity: Terrain Shading

This tutorial will teach you how to recreate a very popular effect in games: topographical maps.

This is a two-part series, which will cover all the necessary aspects—from the Maths to the shader code—to make this possible:

A link to download the full Unity package is also available at the end of the tutorial.

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World Building Through Fictional Languages

Every serious game developer knows that world building is an integral part of the process that creates a truly immersive experience. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to achieve this: from presenting the backstory of your player with a wall of text, to clever level design tricks known as environmental storytelling. The latter is often preferred. Unravelling the lore of your world from a few hints scattered across the levels is, de-facto, a game within the game. And while most players might just ignore them, others could find great pleasure in resolving this meta-puzzle.

Games like Dark Souls are notorious for their rich—and somewhat obscure—lore, which can be pieced together through the strong environmental storytelling and the various hints hidden in the item descriptions. Other games go even deeper than that, and create entire new languages for their fictional civilisations.

This is not something so uncommon, and many other media before games have long relied on fictional languages to create a much deeper sense of immersion. The entire world of The Lord of the Rings was built around a series of languages that J. R. R. Tolkien himself created before writing the books.

🇷🇺 A Russian version of this article is available here.

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Sunrise Sort: The Forgotten Sorting Algorithm

This article is about an interesting, yet forgotten sorting algorithm: the Sunrise sort. It is possibly the only one to have a rather unusual property: it is fully unstable.

Sorting has been a recurring theme on this blog, from The Incredibly Challenging Task of Sorting Colours to GPU Sorting (animation below). If sorting algorithms—especially the more “esoteric” ones—are a subject that easily captures your imagination, this is an article you definitely want to read.

And for the ones who will dare to stay till the end, you will discover what made the Sunrise sort a “forgotten” algorithm.

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Accessibility in Videogames

This article will focus on how to design accessible videogames for players living with a disability. The idea came after writing a long thread on Twitter which focused on accessibility design.

If this is a topic that interests you, and you want to learn what you can do to make your videogames more accessible, keep reading!

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Minecraft Modding: Laser Gun

While guns are not terribly interesting, this tutorial will cover one rather tricky thing to do in Minecraft, which is often associated with guns: raycasting. Simply put, this is the process of finding what object we are looking at. No command is sadly able to do that, so we will need to come up with an alternative solution.

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An Introduction to Minecraft Modding

This series of articles will offer an overview and a practical tutorial on Minecraft Modding through the creation of data packs and resource packs. If you are interested in extending the game, this is the article for you!

At the end of this first article you will also find a link to download a mod that allows to throw fireballs, which is explored in the second article of this series.

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